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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for Jill’s Blog

Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerAs entrepreneurs working with clients is absolutely what we have the pleasure to do day in and day out. And 99% of the time, that works splendidly. However, there are those one percenters who without taking charge could derail the whole process. Here’s a list of challenging clients and what you can do to keep your business running smoothly.

Free Consult Client – We all get them. Those potential clients who set up a call to discuss working with you and before long it’s quite evident (probably from the 10 billion questions on how to do what they need done) that they are more interested in picking your brain than working with you. Another clear sign is when they ask you for examples of numerous things to “check you out.” I’m no dummy. I know you want those examples of “all I do” so you can cut and paste and fill in the blank your business information. You then can make your own, especially with the information you just hijacked from me.

The key here is to still be professional without giving away the farm. You truly can’t call them out, but you can take control. When you see it heading in this direction, start providing half answers such as “oh yes we love to do that for our clients and it’s so easy to do when you (and then provide one tip.) I’ve actually had calls where they want to know exactly how I write a press release and pitch as well as review my databases to make sure it’s a good fit. I knew and took control. You can also limit these by saying, my next call starts soon, and cut the call short. Don’t get me wrong, there are many times clients truly want to chat to make sure I’m experienced and I’m happy to share my processes and examples. But I can tell the ones who aren’t and try to remedy the situation as promptly as possible.

The Get More Out of You Ploy Client – Yes, we all have these clients who indirectly try and get more out of the working relationship than what is discussed and agreed to. For entrepreneurs this can be a big issue because we always want to do our very best and want to have happy satisfied clients. And definitely you want to continue to do that. What you don’t want to do though is fall for this trap so that you’re giving double, triple or even more to those clients who are clearly hoping you’ll do more to please them. Again, take control. Absolutely I have given more to clients and I actually make it a practice to do. However, when I see things going south badly and them start asking for the moon for the same amount of time, I politely take charge and let them know. A “I’d love to help with that. I believe it might take an additional five hours. Does that sound good?” works most time. You might have to reinforce it too at times. Also, be very polite and let them know when you see it turning into a problem. Don’t wait too long where you already are feeling the pinch.

The Nights, Weekends & 4:55 Clients – It’s critical in business to set your boundaries. The main reason for this is you do better when you do and are refreshed and also because you tend to get resentful if you end up working nights and weekends consistently. Now, I’m not taking an occasional email or two back. I’m happy to do those! I love my clients and I know they value me and my time and rarely do they take advantage. This is for those other clients who think the evening and weekends are the same as work hours. It’s when they send you work at 4:55 or later in the evening and expect it back by 8:00 a.m. the next morning. Or they send you a ton of work late Friday afternoon and expect it back first thing Monday morning. These require you actually working the nights and weekends. Once again, take charge and set your boundaries. Let them know you are happy to do these and provide a reasonable timeframe to return the work. Plus beware of the “only this timers.” Those often turn into the “only this time every nighters.” Not good. Not good at all. Read More→

Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerMy son goes to a charter school and has to wear khaki’s and a polo shirt. His uniform had about two inches of growth room in the legs and about the same in the waist and arms. He’s thirteen, so he grew. Overnight. First his legs grew along with his waist. He had to shimmy into his pants one weekday morning. I saw all of his socks and they were not even close to white. Boys are nasty. 

A week later, he grew another inch. The next morning the sleeves on his long sleeve polo shirts looked long enough for a four-year-old and not even close to long enough for a teen. Then his feet grew this weekend he went from a size 8 1/2 in mens to a size 9 in mens. His feet are bigger than mine. So are his hands. He has a few inches on my height too. I knew this would happen someday but why did it need to happen so fast? Time, the real speeding bullet. 

My problem with my son’s growth spurt is less about his inevitable aging, but more a practical issue. I wasn’t ready. Usually, I keep a Rubbermaid container full of clothes in the next size waiting or the inescapable development. As boys get older though, fewer clothes get passed down from friends or family members and I was not prepared. I thought he still had room for a jump in size but I was wrong. Here are some tips to help you avoid being caught off guard. 

 

  1. Walk past the boys and mens clothes section in Walmart. Often you can find some pants on sale, some tee-shirts, and even jackets. When there is a sale, grab a couple of items cheap a size bigger. 

 

  1. Use birthdays as an excuse to shop for your boy. No, boys don’t want clothes for their birthday but a new PlayStation game wrapped in a sweater is a good idea. Buy a size up. 

 

  1. Shop the thrift stores. Second-hand stores carry a ton of mens clothes but not near as many men shop at thrift stores as women. Stock up on some clothing in each size and put it in the Rubbermaid container I forgot!

 

  1. Do you have a friend with a son a year or two older than yours? Ask for hand-me-downs. Most moms are happy to get rid of anything that is no longer useful and taking up space. Or anything she has to clean! Maybe you have another child who is older than one of her and you can swap clothing. 

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerSome Thoughts on Power, Prayer, and Pleasing by Pam BassI’ve been reading in 2 Chronicles lately, through my daily bible reading plan. It always amazes me amidst all the wars and violence of the Old Testament there are verses tucked away that speak to me. One verse in ch. 25 is, v. 2: “Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”  It appears he started off well, but it didn’t stick. [he didn’t finish well?] He did seek God via a prophet and in verse 9b it states: “The man of God replied, “the Lord is able to give you much more than this!” But it seems that God’s abundance wasn’t enough for him. His son Uzziah then becomes king at age 16 and “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done.” He rebuilt towns, he sought God, and listened to Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of the Lord. And as long as the king sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (v26:4-5).

What’s amazing is I think we’re a lot like him: we start off well in our marriages, saying to ourselves, ‘I’m gonna be respectful, wise, kind, and loving; I’m gonna be the modern version of the Proverbs 31 lady”. And bless our hearts, we try and try. But then he does something stupid or unkind, or totally thoughtless, etc. and we stop trying. We stop seeking God on our marriage, on ourselves. We think, ‘well, he’s not doing his part, I’ll just quit doing my part and wait for him. After all, he’s supposed to be the leader (head) of our family. This is not good, ladies.

Read More→

Terri Seymour - Making Marketing Work bloggerplanning2In my last article, I listed ten ideas for business events on your blog or website and in this article, I would like to offer ideas for promoting those events.   By holding various events on your blog or website you are giving people an incentive for visiting your website and you are also stirring up more interest in what you have to offer.

Events are an excellent way to get people to interact with your site and business.  And by creating more interaction, you are making your site much more memorable.

Below are ten ideas for promoting your event.

Read More→

Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerbeach vacationVacations mean different things to different people. For me, the vacation means I am vacating one place and going to another place to do nothing.

Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and me vacated the parsonage to go to some place where we could major on doing nothing. We have mastered this over the years.

My definition of “nothing” is quite different from my wife’s definition.

My definition is simply that I spend the day doing nothing.

My wife’s definition is simply that she will spend the day doing nothing but thrift store shopping.

At this point, I am not quite sure who has mastered their “nothing.” We might be equal at this point. As long as each of our “nothing” activity does not collide with each other.

One of the aspects of getting to that “nothing” point is travel. The older I get, the less fond I am of traveling especially long distances. But if we are going to get to our destination, travel is part of the activity.

A long time ago, I made the decision, that on our vacations would use my wife’s van. Henceforth, she does all the driving.

How I got to this point was simply that if she is going to go thrift shopping she will need space to put the stuff that she buys. Hence, she needs to take her van, and consequently, she needs to do all the driving.

I have long ago come to my point of manhood that I do not have to do all the driving. My father was quite different. He felt that because he was the man in the house, he should do all the driving. I am not my father’s son. At least, in that respect.

If my wife is going to go thrift store shopping, she will need her van and so this problem has been worked out quite nicely, if you ask me.

On our travel I can either do some reading or log sawing, at which I am pretty good.

She’s a very good driver; after all, I trained her. I remember the time training her to drive a car, I would not say anything now, but there were some very anxious moments. So, there is nothing she could do now that would in any way cause me to be anxious.

This past vacation time I did see something that startled me to no end. We were driving down the main street in St. Augustine when we passed an old man riding his bicycle. That in itself is not an unusual sight, after all a lot of people ride bicycles. As we passed him, I noticed his trousers were down to his knees and I saw something that I am not supposed to see under any circumstance. My eyes burned for the next two days.

Then, the next day as we were driving and I saw this large Cadillac coming in our direction and there was nobody in the driver’s seat. Believe me, I was a little excited about that for sure. When we passed this car, I looked over and behind the steering wheel, barely able to see through the steering wheel, was a little old lady sitting.

Where do people get their driver’s license? Who gives them their driver’s license?

The next day we were driving home and I had just about fallen asleep. The Sandman had just started his activity and I was fast approaching dreamland. Then I heard a noise…“Bah room boom boom boom boom boom. Bah room boom boom boom boom boom.”

I jumped out of my sleep and looked over at my wife and she was looking at me. At first, I thought we were entering the apocalypse and was tempted to get down and start praying. Read More→

Feb
04

Absolutes, Absolutely

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerIf I haven’t mentioned before that I’m a geek, this article will surely prove it.

I’d like to start out by mentioning one of my great Star Wars quotes from the Bible.

“From the Bible,” you ask?  Yes.  And it has a great implication for Dads – especially as your kids enter middle and high school.

Some of you still aren’t convinced that Star Wars quotes the Bible.  If you’d like to stop reading right now and leave a comment as your guess what it is; then do it.  It’s the only way people will believe you if you’re geeky enough to get it right.

That was your chance.

Here’s what Jesus said (in Matthew 12:30):

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, andwhoever does not gather with me scatters.

It’s a pretty plain, direct statement.  Some might even consider it a statement of absolute.  There is no grey area.  You’re either for Jesus, or you are against him . . .  and if you’re against him then you’re going to lose.

Here’s the quote from Star Wars Revenge of the Sith:

Anakin Skywalker: If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.

Anakin Skywalker: You will try.

So, obviously the director was trying to make some sort of statement . . . probably against God.  But that’s Hollywood.

My concern as a Dad is that there are many venues for our kids where absolutes are shunned.  If I went to the local high school and said, “There are only two genders.” There would be drama.  Same thing if I made the statement, “3rd trimester abortion is murder.”  Or “You have to believe in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for your sins in order to go to heaven.”  Or “Homosexuality is a sin.”

Any one of those statements at a public school would get my kids disciplined or ostracized.  Same thing if they were said in a social setting – there would be an immediate issue with some people.  Unfortunately, even at many churches there would be the same level of drama if any of the above statements were said; especially from the pulpit.

The good thing is, very few people need to go around publically stating absolutes.  But, as Dads, we really need to make sure that our kids know the truth and know that there isn’t a grey area with most things God says in the Bible.

Much of our society has become a dichotomy (two parts) of people groups; the loud, and the quietly virtuous.  It pretty clear that there is a lot of stigma against absolute virtue from the media these days.  So I wouldn’t ever post on Facebook:  “Sex outside of marriage is wrong.” because my feed would immediately erupt in drama.  So, like most people, I share truth with people that aren’t going to turn into a Darth Vader when they hear an absolute.

Your kids are those people.  We’re not raising Dark Lords of the Sith (for you non-geeks, that means ‘villains’).  We want to make sure that our kids know right from wrong; they need to know the absolutes.  And of course we’ll temper the knowledge with how to live according to the truth . . . and how to avoid drama along the way. Read More→

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Feb
01

3 Ways to Streamline Customer Support on Your Website

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As a work-at-home-mom or dad, you’re excited about the launch of your new company and website. You have done your homework and know you’re offering great products and/or services at reasonable prices. Now, you need the customers and orders to start rolling in.

In order to assist as many potential customers as possible, it’s important to find ways to streamline customer support to your new website and company. While some of your clients may want to call you directly, others might prefer live chat, and others may love reaching out via social media.

With these important ideas in mind, consider the following tips:

1. Consider Using a Cloud Call Center

As you’re likely already well aware, juggling a new company with your family out of a home office can be both exciting and challenging. After all, while you’ll want to devote as much energy as possible to your new venture, it can be difficult to focus at times when the phone rings every few minutes.

To help deal with this challenge, you may want to consider using a cloud call center to handle customer service calls for people who prefer to use the phone.

For instance, the marketplace is saturated with a number of stellar of cloud center solutions that will allow you to optimize workflows, avoid fragmentation and allow you put your energies toward other company-related tasks, all while providing a superior customer service experience with less hassle.

2. Harness the Power of Social Media

In order to reach and connect with as many customers as possible, it’s important to create and be active on social media. Make it as easy as possible for customers to connect with you by including your company’s phone number and website on your social media platforms, and also link to your social pages on your website. Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Jan
30

The end of all nonsense and other practical jokes

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerWhen it comes to practical jokes, Yours Truly is always on the ready. Throughout my earthly passage, I have perpetuated my share of practical jokes. I will not enumerate them here, the simple reason being, I might want to bring one out of retirement.

I must say that most practical jokes are neither practical nor funny. However, I operate on the biblical premise, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). With the high cost of medicine these days, I will take a merry heart every time. Just call me Dr. Merry Heart, and I will dispense some good medicine to everybody who needs it.

Now, the practical joke I am thinking of has to do with New Year’s Resolutions. I always look forward to the last week in January for this very reason. For the first several weeks of January, I am nervous and sweating over those lousy New Year’s Resolutions I am forced to make. Pardon my French.

Somewhere there is someone laughing at all of those stupid enough to make New Year’s Resolutions. It is probably the quintessential practical joke played on all humanity. Is there a culture anywhere in our world today that does not fall for this practical joke? If there is, I want to move there.

The first week in January is probably the worst week when it comes to these New Year’s Resolutions. They are fresh in our mind not to mention fresh on our lips. A New Year’s Resolution would not be so bad if nobody knew that we made one. The problem comes when somebody knows what our resolution is and constantly reminds us, “How’re your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?” Read More→

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Jan
29

Decluttering For Spiritual Space

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If we’re honest with ourselves our lives are jam packed full. From work, to family, church and social commitments very often carving some time out for peace and solitude is next to impossible.

But finding this space is important and not just because it gives us a moment’s rest from the hustle and bustle of daily life but because it gives us time to focus on the bits that are important. This might be your prayer life; it might be taking time to read up on your faith or your job or something else that brings fulfillment to your life with a little concentration and effort.

So how do we go about finding this time? The answer is that we don’t. It won’t be found but it can be created. We take a look at how to create time in the midst of a busy life.

 

Say no

A small but extremely effective word when used at the right time. Of course we’re not advocating being rude or aggressive but being firm? Absolutely. It’s very easy to get drawn into everyone’s problems and circumstances and give and give and give of your time but if you’re burnt out, spiritually hungry and stressed, you won’t, in the end, help anyone.

That’s why putting boundaries in place is the key to protecting your mental, physical and spiritual health and why you should put yours in place today. If you don’t want to take phone calls after 10pm, then let people know and don’t answer. If you don’t have the time to pick up some groceries for someone, suggest home delivery or another person who can help, but say no.

 

Make a routine

The easiest way to make something happen regularly is to do it regularly. If a Tuesday morning is your quiet time, then it happens every Tuesday without fail and it becomes your priority. Your friends and family will soon learn that there’s no point trying to get you to commit to something at this time as you always turn it down.

Don’t feel guilty about putting this routine in place; cultures and religions across the world from Buddhists to Lay Cistercians recognize the importance of a spiritual routine.

 

Cut out the clutter

And we don’t mean just the clothes and books you no longer use but the clutter that distracts us such as social media, Netflix and even working that little bit longer each day to meet deadlines we’ve more often than not created for ourselves. By all means, have these in your life but think long and hard about how much they really mean to you.

You don’t have to be a lifestyle guru to make a few significant changes, you just need to take time to start putting your priorities first and that should include your own time and space and not just those of your friends and family. Creating your own Sabbath is healthy, it’s Biblical and ultimately it will help you to be more effective in the life you lead.

 

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Jan
28

Juggling Work & Family When Working at Home

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jill-new14HiResMany a mom longs to work at home so she can spend more time with her kids. But there’s a catch: actually getting that work done requires time away from your kids. Here’s advice on how you can work more efficiently and reduce frustration when have young kids and work at home.

QuestionI have been having my home based business for three years now and I still am struggling with how to juggle business and being a mom, wife and housekeeper. How do you juggle these? I want to make this a success, but so far it’s only been frustration.

My children are four and two years old and they are more challenging than most (not as in spoiled, but as in needing more time than the average kid). Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Answer: GREAT question! My kids are now seven and four, so I now have a little bit of help in my seven-year-old. But, I found something that I had written a few years ago. In it, I listed my kids’ ages as four and one. I could tell when reading it that I had been very frazzled. I think I lived in a state of frazzled during those years when they were both so small.

My main advice would be to cut yourself some slack. Things will get easier and more manageable as your kids get older.

My practical advice is this:

1. Plan out menus each week.

I literally spend about two minutes on this. I have a small magnetic dry-erase board that I keep on my refrigerator. Each Sunday, I write out the days of the week and what we’ll have for supper that day. (Lunches almost always consist of sandwiches or something easy like that since it’s just me and the kids.)

This makes grocery shopping a breeze because I know just what ingredients I need. It also alleviates the nagging thoughts of “what are we going to eat tonight?” If possible, have one or both of your kids help you decide what to put. You’ll be surprised at how much they like having a say in what goes on that board!

2. Set a day for everything.

My days look something like this:

Mondays – Housework and laundry (and business tasks as time allows)

Tuesdays – Grocery shopping and business tasks (this used to be during naptime, but is now during preschool time)

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